April- I Am Treasured.

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Life is a peculiar thing- looking back, it’s a fog to try to remember places and dates and times; not to mention the order of events. And then, the memories come- trickle in slowly one at a time; images, colors fill me as if a dam has broken. I search the flood for the valuable recollections – the ones that will create my memories. Trouble is, I am an artist. I see value in each passing thought, each shifting cloud in the sky, each fragmented memory, no matter the feeling attached. So, I will share with you what I can, in the ways the memories beckon to be shared.

“She is a prodigal…” I read in a curvy font; in someone’s handwriting I did not recognize. I felt the anger rise up within, fighting to keep the welled up tears at bay. My heart pounded, as I knew he would be pulling in the driveway, arriving home to our little yellow house we had purchased together a couple years prior. I found the divorce papers outlining the division of assets in a pile on the desk we once shared, my heart once again plummeting towards my stomach- a feeling I was getting far too used to. My dachshund-yorkie mix yelped and scratched at his crate door, as he heard me in the other room, while our other dog sighed aloud, so patient in this time of crisis and turmoil. My heart broke leaving them again, in our once cozy home, now walls that seemed to grow even taller; reflecting a jagged heartbreak- a fortress holding up the pieces of a failed marriage. “I will come get you soon, Toto and Foxy, I promise.” How do you rationalize divorce to a dog? Two for that matter? Truth is, they felt it coming long before I even realized. I slipped out of the house, gently fixed the handmade wreath on the door as I locked up my house, my once-upon-a-dream, and let the tears release as I walked away from what I knew as home. Learning to breathe in, learning to breathe out.  Letting go of the anxiety within, and ready to learn valuable life lessons in the journey to come.

Tragedy through divorce will do a number on you. Any heartache will, actually. But through the pieces and the wreckage- one comes to see what their heart treasures, holds close, and what the heart desperately NEEDS to treasure. God went to work right away on my heart, because He knew that I desperately needed Him. When I couldn’t even bring myself to attend church, God brought himself to me, as a good shepherd seeks after the lone lost sheep. About the time my world seemed wash away before me, I started hearing a little voice of hope. At first, I wasn’t sure if it was my own thoughts as my brain always seemed to be racing; but soon, the words played over and over in my mind, so I started writing the words down. One of the many letters read:

Jennifer Rose-

You are good. You are good. You are strong, you are wise, you are loved. You are independent, but need me. You hope for tomorrow. I love you. In the stillness we meet, so balance is essential. Persevere, you are my daughter, and I always love you. hear my birds, they are blessings I put on this Earth for you. Know my words, meditate on them in my gardens, in my woods, as they are also gifts to you. Your name is not to label you, but to call you close to me. You are not alone in this life. I love you. When you stop thinking for a moment, and rest in me, you are at your best. Despite critiques or criticism around you, you shine bright. Negative words destroy the spirit, but gentle words in love spur the spirit to do good, to live well. I have a plan for you. I love watching it unfold, surprising you with coincidences, connections. Joy fills me up when you see really, they are miracles happening. Go to the woods more. Meet me here, in this place. In the calmness, stillness, know that I am here. Leave opinions and critiques of life at the entry of the woods. Enter my sanctuary, let me fill you with my peace. Just be still, and know that I am God. I love you my daughter.

– Your Abba.

It definitely took time to reposition my thought patterns and how I approached my memories, what I held close and valuable. But over time, these letters I started writing down seemed to reflect the love from the Father above, and lined up with the way love seemed to be outlined in the Bible. I once held fast to attending church every Sunday, being “nice” always, doing my daily devotions, and holding up a reputable life standard. What I realized was that aligning my life to Jesus meant so much more than all that. It meant receiving His love. Truly knowing and acknowledging His saving grace, and finding an overwhelming tidal wave of joy, peace and healing, no matter what life brought. The point I reached in life one year ago today, when I had the absolute least of “things”; nothing left of monetary value to treasure, was the point in life where I finally understood Christ’s fierce love for me. I finally FELT the letters I had written down for three years. I finally saw the magnitude of a lost lone sheep the shepherd brought back to the flock, finally felt the GRACE for the prodigal; the one who had found her way home, because she had learned to treasure the thing that mattered the most of all in this life: Jesus Christ as her Lord.

Yes, it had hurt to read that note about “the prodigal” amongst the divorce papers. But what I’ve come to realize is that every single one of us has been a prodigal somewhere in life, and we have a Father who desperately loves us, that sent His son to redeem us, to bring us back to Him. The greatest love letter ever written. And it is up to us to see how treasured we are, and to answer back that love the God of the Universe has given.  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34

Luke 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

1Tim 6:19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Malachi 3:17 “On the day when I act,” says the LORD Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him.

Proverbs 2:4

My son, if you accept my words

and store up my commands within you,

turning your ear to wisdom

and applying your heart to understanding—

indeed, if you call out for insight

and cry aloud for understanding,

and if you look for it as for silver

and search for it as for hidden treasure,

then you will understand the fear of the Lord

and find the knowledge of God.

Job 22:25 the Almighty himself will be your treasure. He will be your precious silver!

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